Mrs. Olsen was right! (On Columbian coffee)

Does anyone remember the Folger’s commercials of the '70s? Kindly old Scandanavian Mrs. Olsen making fantastic coffee, and at some point she smilingly says Folger’s is her secret, because it’s made with Columbian beans, which are, as she says, “the richest kind.”

Well, I’ve been a mid-grade coffee snob for most of my life. I’ve bought gourmet beans and ground them myself since I was out of college. Before I got my own bean grinder, I ground them in the store. I’ve drank Kona, Kenyan and everything in between.

But recently, for reasons that don’t make a ton of sense, I bought a standard can of coffee (not Folgers, but store-brand) Columbian coffee and well, IT’S GOOD! I can’t say it’s the most superior coffee I’ve ever had, but it’s pretty rich and tasty and every time I make a pot, I can hear Mrs. Olsen saying, “I told you so!”

I used to get Gevalia and, while I love coffee, I have no sense of discrimination about it. Arabic, Columbian, Kenyan, Mongolian, fruity or earthy or nutty or whatever nuace they described it as, it was all freakin’ coffee to me.

I pretty much stick now with Folgers. There are, however, two coffees worth the extra expense to me- Makers Mark and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Guess who makes Dunkin’ Donuts coffee?

Makers mark Coffee? :confused: :dubious: :smiley:

You can probably find just about any grade of coffee from any country that produces it. Many things factor in: freshness, storage, and the circumstances of production. Most of all, it’s pretty subjective in the end–everyone has their preferences for things like dark vs. light roast. etc. When I lived in Colombia I bought coffee off the supermarket shelf, and for me it was definitely better than Folgers. But I’d had Colombian coffee which I thought was better in California. I mentioned this to a friend, and he said that the best coffee in Colombia is usually exported.

In any case, I’m still not going to take my cue from someone who was on TV in the 70s named “Mrs. Olsen.”

Sure! They also make barbecue sauce.

Apparently I spelled her name wrong; it’s Mrs. Olson.


It wasn’t the source of the beans, silly–it was the “crystals” in the coffee.

(and what they hell were they, anyway?). Wikipedia is silent on the subject (despite mentioning the crystals as part of the ad campaign).

I always thought that Mrs Olson and Mr Whipple has a thing for one another…

And BBQ sauce, as Ellen noted, and cherries and chocolates and cigars.

If you’re ever in the area of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, the free tour is fantastic. It’s like the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of distilleries! (We got to put our hands in & taste from the vats of sour mash in various stages of fermentation. I was tempted to pull an Augustus Gloop!)

Folgers Columbian really is good. But Great Value is half the price and almost as good.

Did Mrs. Olsen specifically mention Columbian coffee? I do remember her catchphrase was that “mountain grown” was “the richest kind” of coffee.

The actress Virginia Christine looked and sounded so convincingly Swedish that it was a shock to see her in other roles (e.g., the Twilight Zone episode ‘Escape Clause’) and learn she was American.

Piano-playing comic Pete Barbuti did a routine in which he speculated about what Mrs. Olsen carried in her purse. “She could be a big-time dealer”, he mused. “She’s got the foreign accent”. (It sounded funnier in the 70s).

Search on YouTube, Fooey. There’s a terrible, grainy commercial, and she does say “Mountain Grown,” but also mentions Columbian.

I must confess also that I have been somewhat of a coffee snob, but have of late been enjoying ::gasp:: canned coffee! Chock Full O’ Nuts, to be exact.

Café Bustelo is what we drink now, and it is the best coffee I have had, aside from the one time a friend brought me some from his father’s farm in Mexico. But for years, we would drink Folgers regular grind and it was very good. Then it was only available in automatic drip in the stores we go to and I did not care for that at all; it tasted sour to me.

I used to work with someone from Louisiana and she bought us that coffee once. It tasted like roasted peanuts. If I want peanuts I’ll eat them, but I don’t want them in my coffee. I don’t see the appeal.

I bought that Chock Full o’ Nuts one time, just to see, and it tasted TERRIBLE. Not even like peanut, just like black yucky ick. Are you supposed to use the same proportions as with regular coffee grounds?

I’ve still got the can, but it’s probably hideously stale. I’d be willing to try it again since Nawlins people seem so wild over it. Recipe, Arky?

Sorry for the delay;

I use the French Roast, and I don’t think there are any nuts in it - I could be wrong, though.

Four things:

Here is a picture of Virginia Christine, aka “Mrs. Olson,” for those unfamiliar.

I use Eight O’Clock coffee and have terrific results.

The way the coffee is brewed has a huge impact on its taste. I have had widely divergent results with coffee from the same package when brewed in different pots or using different techniques.

A coffee that goes well with milk or cream in it will not necessarily be the tops to people who drink it black. I have an issue of Cook’s Illustrated at home that goes into this in minor detail. IIRC, there are some proteins in milk that latch onto some of the bitter compounds in coffee and change the flavor. The upshot was that coffees with a stronger or “burnt” flavor scored poorly when drunk black, but shot up in the rankings dramatically with a little cream added; the milder coffees, on the other hand, went from high marks to lower ones because they became “boring.”


I’m no coffee snob - I love good coffee, but, when it comes down to it, I’ll drink any coffee plunked down in front of me. But you’re kidding, right? When I have to go back to Yuban, or Maxwell House, or Folger’s, because I can’t afford good stuff, I literally make a face with the first sip. It’s watery and acrid - blargh!! Just terrible, IMHO.


Is this a whoosh? I was under the impression that Chock Full o’ Nuts was a New York thing. And the coffee was named after a Manhattan restaurant chain, not because there were nuts in it.

Chock Full o’ Nuts is also made by Folgers.